History

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The name of WATERLO appeared for the first time in a letter written by the Father Othebold to Countess Otgive, wife of Count of Flanders Baudoin IV. This letter, written between 1019 and 1030, demonstrated that the village belonged to the abbey of Saint-Bavon of Ghent before the Norman Invasions in the middle of the IXth Century. Wattrelos belonged to the abbey of Saint-Bavon till the French Revolution. But recent archeological excavations prove the presence of Gallo-Roman villagers in the districts of Beaulieu and of la Martelotte since the First Century of our era.

Many times crossed and saddened by the invasions, Wattrelos is the witness of a tragic episode of the Religious Wars. On December 27th 1566, a large body of Protestants, named “Gueux”, is encircled in the church of Wattrelos by the troops of Duke of Alva. The soldiers burned the church where the Gueux were killed by burning alive or jumping from the belfry.

Two centuries later, on May 18th 1794, Wattrelos is one of the main positions of the Battle of Tourcoing : the victory of General Souham stopped the attempted invasions of the country.  Then Wattrelos entered in the era of Industrial Revolution, mainly textile, as its neighbors Roubaix and Tourcoing.

During the Second World War, the city is the center of a major resistance activity conducted by the movement Sylvester Farmer WO.

At the end of the war, the city build news accommodations, schools, sports structures and created a dense and active network of associations. The city was also equipped with a park, the park of the Lion, and with a museum, the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. The many cultural events and festivals, as the Berlouffes, make of Wattrelos, a friendly and warm city, the fifth city of the metropolis of Lille.